This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

18Dec/12

OLAFUR ELIASSON: VOLCANOES AND SHELTERS

Olafur Eliasson, “The volcano series,” sixty-three C-prints, 2012 (© Olafur Eliasson)

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
521 West 21st St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Through December 22, free, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
212-414-4144
www.tanyabonakdargallery.com

Although best known for his colorful, dramatic installations using various combinations of glass, mirrors, metal, water, and light, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has also been taking photographs of Iceland, the home of his parents’ birth, for two decades, capturing its unique natural landscapes and putting them together in fascinating grids. His latest exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar is highlighted by three such grids on separate walls in the Chelsea gallery’s main space, enveloping visitors with their looming physicality. “The hut series” consists of fifty-six photographs of “micro-parliaments,” small, remote cabins set against earth and sky. “The hot springs series” collects forty-eight photos of one of Iceland’s most distinctive natural elements, geothermal hot springs that bubble beneath the ground. And “The volcano series” captures sixty-three shots of volcanic craters from around the country. In the back room, “The large Iceland series” features bigger, individual portraits of more natural phenomena. Upstairs, Eliasson, who works in Berlin and Copenhagen and was the subject of the terrific 2008 MoMA/PS1 retrospective “Take Your Time,” has installed “Your disappearing garden,” filling nearly half a room with volcanic obsidian rocks, as if he shipped a part of Hrafntinnusker to New York City. And behind a curtain are three works that dazzle the senses, a trio of tabletop fountains that slowly spin in a dark room illuminated by strobe lights that make it look as if the cascading water is momentarily frozen in time; visitors will actually feel dizzy as they walk around these “anti-gravity experiments,” which Eliasson has titled “Object defined by activity (now),” “Object defined by activity (soon),” and “Object defined by activity (then).”

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